The Spastic Centre Country Children's Hostel, also known as McLeod House and the New South Wales Hostel for Country Children, was a hostel for country children with cerebral palsy run by The Spastic Centre. A pilot hostel was established in Mosman in 1948 and a purpose-built facility opened in Allambie Heights in 1957. State wards were sent to this home. In 2007 the Centre was still providing residential services, possibly including children. In 2011 the organisation changed its name to Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
The Spastic Centre was established in 1945 by a group of parents led by Neil and Audrie McLeod, whose daughter had cerebral palsy, which was then referred to as 'spastic paralysis'. It was the first organisation of its type in the world. The McLeod's and a group of volunteer parents started a treatment centre in a borrowed house in Queen Street, Mosman, before moving to the new premises at Allambie Heights from 1953 until 1957.
The Spastic Centre preferred to work with families, but it was very difficult for country families who had children with cerebral palsy to access services. The Spastic Centre established a pilot hostel in Glover Street in Mosman in 1948. A purpose-built hostel was built with voluntary labour and opened on 9 February 1958 by the Governor of New South Wales. It was called McLeod House, after the founders of the Centre. It contained a hospital.
A severe fire gutted The Spastic Centre's administration building of The Spastic Centre in 2007, but McLeod House was not damaged. In 2008 The Spastic Centre began raising funds to replace the building, which was by then considered unsuitable for therapy and accommodation for children.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Fire guts Spastic Centre', abc.net.au, ABC News, 16 December 2007, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-12-16/fire-guts-spastic-centre-office-in-sydney/989798; Raising the Roof: A new building at Allambie Heights, a new vision for our future, please help us rebuild, The Spastic Centre, 2007, https://web.archive.org/web/20190128102148/http://socialventureconsultants.com/svc-site//wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Raising-the-Roof-Case-for-Support.pdf; Cerebral Palsy Alliance [formerly The Spastic Centre]: Our History, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, https://www.cerebralpalsy.org.au/who-we-are/history/; McLeod, Neil, Nothing Is Impossible: Adventures in cerebral palsy, The Spastic Centre, 1986, https://cerebralpalsy.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Nothing-is-impossible.pdf; O'Farrell, The Hon. Barry, 'A media release from the Premier - NSW Government announces $200,000 for Cerebral Palsy Alliance', in Media Releases, Families and Community Services: Ageing, Disability and Home Care, 20 May 2011, https://www.opengov.nsw.gov.au/publications/14379;jsessionid=869A2240B69DDB130AFE086CACB7B226.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 4 May 2014, Last modified: 3 July 2018